SEVERE WX : Flood Warning View Alerts

Republican lawmaker aims to gut Indiana's coronavirus limits

A Republican lawmaker pushed Monday to strip away much of the authority Indiana’s state and local public health officials have used to impose restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Posted: Jan 26, 2021 6:07 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A Republican lawmaker pushed Monday to strip away much of the authority Indiana’s state and local public health officials have used to impose restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill would prohibit health officials from steps such as imposing limits on the number of customers allowed inside a business or restricting medical services that hospitals could provide, along with blocking restrictions on religious services or private schools.

Such steps under Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb’s executive orders over the past 10 months have stirred some conservative opposition and prompted debate in the GOP-dominated Legislature on measures limiting the governor’s emergency powers authority and preventing employers from requiring workers to receive immunizations against COVID-19 or any other disease.

But the bill sponsored by Rep. Bob Morris of Fort Wayne would go much further in limiting state authority than one written by House Majority Leader Matt Lehman of Berne.

Lehman’s proposal would require the General Assembly to be called into session for an extension of a governor’s emergency order beyond 60 days, but doesn’t limit any current authority that’s been aimed at stemming spread of the coronavirus that the state health department says has killed nearly 10,000 people in Indiana with some 2,000 more currently hospitalized.

The Republican-dominated Indiana House commerce committee Monday added restriction provisions proposed by Morris to his bill without any advanced notice and could vote on the bill next week.

Morris argued that state and local officials had gone too far in restricting businesses and that they had no right to place limits on attendance for religious services, including weddings and funerals, and require face masks and social distancing as was done during the early weeks of pandemic limitations last spring.

“I don’t feel that government should tell someone how they worship and what they wear and how they do it. And that’s really what our Constitution states as well,” Morris said. “So, we can recommend things, but to actually tell the church what they can and cannot do, I don’t feel that that’s correct.”

Neither Lehman nor Republican House Speaker Todd Huston immediately commented Monday on the provisions proposed by Morris.

Democratic Rep. Rita Fleming of Jeffersonville, a medical doctor, argued during the committee meeting that rolling back coronavirus safeguards now wasn’t wise and that not even churches should be exempt.

“It is the right of everyone in the community to be free of disease where possible,” Fleming said.

West Lafayette
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 40°
Kokomo
Clear
42° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 39°
Rensselaer
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 41°
Fowler
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 40°
Williamsport
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 43°
Crawfordsville
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 42°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 42°
Delphi
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 39°
Monticello
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 39°
Logansport
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 38°
A drier day with sunshine and cool temperatures
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1011197

Reported Deaths: 16524
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1359292129
Lake666181167
Allen58254802
Hamilton46498467
St. Joseph44559617
Elkhart36044510
Vanderburgh32333481
Tippecanoe28037260
Johnson25196446
Hendricks23960360
Porter22985367
Madison18820410
Clark18609253
Vigo17530303
Monroe15319200
LaPorte15230252
Delaware15127264
Howard14801290
Kosciusko12410149
Hancock11773176
Bartholomew11695180
Warrick11305189
Floyd11138215
Wayne11023253
Grant10131220
Morgan9506177
Boone8965116
Dubois8281131
Henry8252153
Dearborn823493
Noble8064106
Marshall7981135
Cass7556123
Lawrence7479172
Shelby7216119
Jackson700990
Gibson6614115
Harrison651892
Huntington6447100
Knox6427106
DeKalb6363100
Montgomery6293112
Miami595298
Putnam584179
Clinton579271
Whitley568455
Steuben566876
Wabash5363104
Jasper536180
Jefferson513297
Ripley501987
Adams483777
Daviess4684115
Scott439875
Greene427296
Clay426960
Wells426088
White420964
Decatur4177104
Fayette407387
Jennings390262
Posey377544
LaGrange361778
Washington360451
Randolph3476100
Spencer340743
Fountain336160
Sullivan330852
Starke319171
Owen315571
Fulton313468
Orange295064
Jay285546
Franklin266443
Perry265752
Rush263832
Carroll262434
Vermillion259854
Parke232029
Pike229643
Tipton229059
Blackford195042
Pulaski184657
Crawford160125
Newton159848
Benton151217
Brown147047
Martin139319
Switzerland135311
Warren121416
Union107216
Ohio84613
Unassigned0544

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events